Erik is an eighteen-year-old who lives with progressive myoclonic epilepsy. This seizure-causing condition results in a decline in motor skills, balance, and cognitive function over time. He was very active as a young boy, spending a lot of time biking with his dad and dreaming of becoming a police officer. As Erik’s condition continued to decline into his teenage years, he became more homebound, less hopeful of his dreams, and wasn’t confident that he could find a career as fulfilling as being a policeman. He felt that doors were closing because of his progressive disability.
When Erik was referred to Shine Foundation, he was in his last year of high school and was thinking about his future. Working together with the Programs team on his Shine Experience, he received an e-trike that would increase his fitness, independence, and bonding time with his dad for many years to come. Shine also surprised him with a personalized tour of the RCMP headquarters in Edmonton where his e-trike was officially presented to him.
On the day of his tour, he was sworn in and given a badge that said “RCMP Helper.” This gave him a treasured opportunity to wear an RCMP serge jacket and hat for the day and was given challenge coins, patches, and pins to collect as he met many members of the team across numerous divisions. He toured the forensic lab to understand investigations, rode in an armoured truck with the emergency response team to learn peaceful negotiation and safety, and so much more. After an action-packed experience that filled him with inspiration, Erik’s day ended in the lobby as staff rallied to present Erik with his e-trike. Although he was at a loss of words thanks to the amazing experience, he later shared “I will always remember the kindness and the friendly family atmosphere everywhere we went.”
Since his Shine Experience, Erik has been more independent and has strengthened his endurance. He finds that his e-trike is a great outlet to help refresh his mind after a challenging day. His tour with the RCMP gave him confidence and helped him find his voice. During his visit, he had deep conversations to brainstorm recruiting and volunteer opportunities that could suit his abilities and plans to stay involved. His sights are now set on an active future behind the wheel of his e-trike and volunteering in his community.
Reflecting on the entire process, his mom shared, “For Erik, to have the Shine Foundation offer him something he wanted, open new doors, and present him opportunities that his parents couldn’t get for him, was incredibly powerful. It’s beautiful to know that there’s a community out there that felt he deserved it.”
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